This gives power to someone to act on your behalf to deal with your property and affairs or your personal welfare.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) came into effect on 1st October 2007 and replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs).
Unlike EPAs there are two types of LPA, one of which deals with a person’s financial affairs and the other with a person’s health matters. It is possible to have only one type and not the other, if desired.
LPAs are made by individuals who have full mental capacity to appoint another individual(s) to act on their behalf in relation to all of their financial matters (or those specific areas they choose) in the event that they are unable to manage them themselves. This may be due to physical or mental incapacity or for the simple reason that they do not want the bother of it all.
LPAs can be used at any time with the donor’s (the person making the LPA) consent unless they become mentally incapable of managing their affairs, in which case they can automatically be used. Unlike EPAs however both of the LPAs need to be registered before they can be used. EPAs only had to be registered if the donor was mentally incapable.
You can appoint one or a number of people to manage your affairs and if appropriate you can restrict the powers that they are given. You can also appoint additional people to act in the event that the original people become unable to act for you.
The new LPAs will be of particular interest to unmarried couples or those not in civil partnerships, who do not legally qualify as the next of kin. In emergency situations medical professionals usually only accept decisions from the next of kin leading to problems between the donor’s family and their long term partner. This can be avoided if your partner is appointed to act as an attorney under a health LPA which should act as a legally acceptable document to doctors and medical staff. Again, like the financial LPA, restrictions can be placed on the type of decisions your attorney is able to make on your behalf.
The sad fact is that we are often approached by relatives or partners when it is too late to act. Another process then has to be followed which can be lengthier and less cost effective at a time when access to finances is needed the most.
If you would like to discuss any of these issues please contact our Private Client Department.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
As mentioned above these were the predecessors to Lasting Powers of Attorney and if made before 1st October 2007 they are still valid and may be used before registering with the Public Guardianship Office. We can give you further advice on this.
If the person who made the Enduring Power of Attorney (the donor) becomes or is becoming mentally incapable of dealing with their financial affairs then the person appointed to deal with the donor's affairs (the attorney) has a duty to register the Enduring Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian. Certain people from a prescribed list must be notified and the application form and fee sent to the Office of the Public Guardian.
If someone is mentally incapable of making a particular decision at a particular time and they have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney or an Enduring Power of Attorney, the matter can be referred to the Court of Protection. The Court may make decisions for the person who has become mentally incapable.
We can assist you in completing the application to the Court if such an appointment is required.
Other applications to the Court may be necessary for instance, for making a gift or making a Statutory Will and we can assist you in dealing with these.
If a person is incapacitated and entitled to receive retirement pension or other State pension, the Department for Work and Pensions can chose an Appointee to receive those benefits on that person’s behalf. The Appointee can be a relative, friend or someone from the caring profession such as the Local Authority Social Services Department.
We understand that as circumstances change our clients have different needs and we offer advice and assistance in relation to Wills, dealing with your financial affairs, nursing home fees, preparing tax returns and repayment claims from H M Revenue & Customs.
Our office has disabled access or home visits can be arranged. We can produce documents in large type. Please let us know if you have any special needs or concerns.
H M Revenue & Customs – www.hmrc.gov.uk
Office of the Public Guardian – www.guardianship.gov.uk
Age Concern – www.ageconcern.org.uk
If you need advice on a legal matter please contact us, and we will respond as soon as possible, or call us on 01923 225212.